The Royal Family of Philip IV


Datos principales

Las Meninas
318 x 276 cm.
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Esquema relacional

Velázquez's "Las Meninas" was painted in 1656. In the foreground of the painting from left to right are Velázquez, Maria Agustina Sarmiento (one of the ladies-in-waiting), Princess Margarita, Isabel de Velasco (the other lady-in-waiting) and the dwarfs Maribárbola and Nicolás Pertusato. In the background are Marcela de Ulloa and a "guardadamas" (a member of the court who served the princess). King Philip IV and Queen [Mariana of Austria#PERSONAS#19] are reflected in the mirror also in the background. Jose Nieto, "aposentador" of the palace (similar to a chamberlain) is standing in the doorway at the back. The scene seems to represent a moment in which Velázquez is painting in his studio and is interrupted by the princess and her small entourage who have come to see the artist at work. Such a visit would have been a regular event in the palace. At this point in the painting the King and Queen pass by, confirmed by the presence of the aposentador whose job it was to open doors for the monarchs. Their appearance on the scene provokes various reactions from the different characters present. Some greet them whereas others are indifferent to their presence. The painting was always known as "The Royal Family of Philip IV" until the 19th century when it became known as "Las Meninas" (The Ladies-in-Waiting). It was painted to hang in Philip IV's summer study in the Alcázar of Madrid, indicating the close relationship that existed between the sovereign and the painter. The painting stands out for its aerial perspective, the sensation of air between the figures, and the depth of space created by the light that enters through the windows on the right. The painting is now in the Museo del Prado, and is on display on the top floor in the oval room, which reinforces the sense of perspective to a surprising degree. The free brushwork is also significant, anticipating Impressionism. Both artists and critics alike consider the painting to be one of the greatest masterpieces in the world. When the 17th century artist Luca Giordano saw the painting he proposed that it was "the theology of painting", in the sense that just as theology was the highest of all the sciences, so the painting was the sublime represented in art.


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